1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch


Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch

Ich verstehe das nicht! The cat drinks it's milk????

What's with the "ihre" in the above sentence? I'm looking up possessive pronouns and "ihre" isn't "seine" or "sein". In fact, "ihre" is only indicated for "theirs" as far as genitive pronouns go.

What am I missing here?

July 19, 2012



"ihre" is a genitive pronoun. It can be in the plural (theirs), but it can also be the female form of "sein/seine" (so third person singular).

Since "Katze" is feminine, it's "the cat drinks its milk" - "die Katze trinkt ihre Milch." Alternatively, "Kater" (tomcat/male cat) would yield a sentence like "the tomcat drinks its milk" - "der Kater trinkt seine Milch", since "Kater" is masculine.


So "seine Milch" is the same thing as "ihre Milch" in terms of this female cat's possession?

(it's tomcat, btw.)


Just to be clear, here is the whole family: mein, dein, sein, ihr (her), unser, euer. ihr (their), Ihr(with capital means your)


(Whoops) No, you can only ever use "ihre" to refer to the word "Katze", since "Katze" is a feminine noun. If you have, say, "Die Katze trinkt seine Milch", "seine" would refer to someone else, but not the cat ("the cat drinks his milk").


Okay, I think this is getting clearer for me, though the explanations for German pronouns from online sources are really, really bad on this count.

You have these 3rd person singular possessive pronouns (sien, siene, ihr) which can be used with any other needed case ending. Is that right? How does "ihn" fit into all this? Is it not used for possession by a masculine noun, like Hunde?

So, what you are saying is in the above sentence, "ihr" will mean "her own" Milch, whereas "seine" would mean the Milch of some other feminine person or object. Have I got this right?

Having only studied Latin and Romance languages before, these German pronoun, article and adjective endings are kicking my butt. I'd love to know and easy way around them so I don't give up in frustration.


Seine Milch is the milk of a masculine animal or person. The possessive pronoun firstly refers to the owner and secondly in the ending to the case and gender of the object/person "owned" Ich habe meine Sorgen, Antwort: Deine Sorgen möchte ich haben. Er holt sein Gepäck und sie bittet ihn, auch ihr Gepäck mitzunehmen. Er + sein (case Akk., gender neutr.) Sie + ihr (case Akk. gender neutr.).

"ihn" is a different pronoun. It is a personal pronoun like he<>him. English has only two forms, German normally uses three: Nominativ (subj.) er; Dativ (e.g indirect object) ihm; Akkusativ (e.g. direct object) inn. Er ruft seine Frau. Sie gibt ihm Antwort. Sie liebt ihn.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.